Susceptibility To Oppositional Peer Cultures

Karolyn Tyson

in Integration Interrupted

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736447
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943951 | DOI:
Susceptibility To Oppositional Peer Cultures

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This chapter addresses high-achieving adolescents' vulnerability to peer cultures that are oppositional to the norms and values of schools. These include youth subcultures in which students are ridiculed for achievement-related behaviors in both racialized and non-racialized ways. Whereas the previous chapter considered where and when taunts of acting white for achievement-related behaviors occur, the present chapter investigates why some high-achieving black adolescents succumb to pressure to conform to oppositional aspects of the peer environment at their schools while others are able to resist and reject such pressures. It demonstrates that there are conditions (both internal and external) that help high-achieving adolescents resist, reject, or ignore this type of negative peer pressure. These include, for example, a strong sense of identity (who they are and are not) and clear post-high school goals and aspirations. The chapter also shows that the age at which adolescents develop the characteristics and goals that keep them focused on academic achievement varies.

Keywords: peer cultures; peer pressure; youth subcultures; academic achievement; acting white; black adolescents; identity; goals; aspirations

Chapter.  20847 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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